United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court on initial review of
Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e) and § 1915A. [Doc. 1]. On October 16, 2018, the
Court entered an order waiving the initial filing fee and
directing monthly payments to be made from Plaintiff's
prison account. [Doc. 7]. Thus, Plaintiff is proceeding in
Plaintiff Isaac Daniel Hughes is an inmate currently
incarcerated at the Madison County Detention Center in
Marshall, North Carolina. Plaintiff filed this action on
September 14, 2018, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, naming
as Defendants Madison County Detention
Facility;Defendant Francy Denton, Sargeant; and
Defendant Jeff Neil, Captain. Plaintiff purports to bring a
claim against Defendants for deliberate indifference to
serious medical needs in violation of his Eighth Amendment
alleges as follows. Between April 18, 2018 and August 25,
2018, Defendants refused to provide Plaintiff necessary
mental health treatment. [Doc. 1 at 5]. Plaintiff made
numerous requests for treatment and emergency medical care
for mental health problems, including bipolar disorder,
severe depression with psychosis, post-traumatic stress
disorder, anxiety, and “relationship distress”
that were ignored by Defendants. [Id. at 5-6].
Plaintiffs' requests for care were either completely
ignored or substantially delayed, constituting a deliberate
indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs.
[Id.]. Defendant Madison County Detention Center
failed to have properly trained staff to recognize his urgent
need for medical care. [Id. at 6]. All of
Plaintiff's mental health conditions could have been
easily treated or stabilized with medication, which Plaintiff
was denied, causing Plaintiff's conditions to be further
exacerbated. [Id.]. Plaintiff made numerous requests
for medical care using the kiosk at the inmate pod. Rather
that provide Plaintiff the requested care, Defendants
punished Plaintiff for his requests by placing him in
segregation. [Id. at 7]. Eventually, Plaintiff was
taken to “Mashburn Medical” and examined by a
doctor, who quickly identified Plaintiff's mental health
illness, referred Plaintiff to “RHA, ” a mental
health clinic, and prescribed two medications for Plaintiff,
Seroquel and Clonidine. [Id. at 7-8]. Defendants
failed to administer the Seroquel and delayed Plaintiff's
referral to RHA by several weeks. [Id. at 8]. By the
time Plaintiff was taken to RHA, Plaintiff was severely
depressed, suffering from insomnia, uncontrollable anxiety,
and nightmares, and having suicidal thoughts. [Id.].
Plaintiff was ordered to follow up with RHA in one month.
[Id.]. Despite numerous requests, Plaintiff's
medication was allowed to run out for at least a week,
causing Plaintiff further suffering from the abrupt cessation
of psychotropic medication. [Id. at 8-9]. Finally, a
new administration took over the detention center in or
around August 2018 and Plaintiff seems to allege that he has
received the treatment he needs since then. [Id. at
9]. Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages and declaratory
relief. [Id. at 4].
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court must
review the Complaint to determine whether it is subject to
dismissal on the grounds that it is “frivolous or
malicious [or] fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Furthermore,
§ 1915A requires an initial review of a “complaint
in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a
governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental
entity, ” and the court must identify cognizable claims
or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if
the complaint is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted; or seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. In
its frivolity review, this Court must determine whether the
Complaint raises an indisputably meritless legal theory or is
founded upon clearly baseless factual contentions, such as
fantastic or delusional scenarios. Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327-28 (1989).
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on an alleged lack of or
inappropriate medical treatment fall within the Eighth
Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual
punishment. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104
(1976). To state a claim under the Eighth Amendment, a
plaintiff must show a “deliberate indifference to
serious medical needs” of the inmate. Id.
“Deliberate indifference requires a showing that the
defendants actually knew of and disregarded a substantial
risk of serious injury to the detainee or that they actually
knew of and ignored a detainee's serious need for medical
care.” Young v. City of Mt. Ranier, 238 F.3d
567, 575-76 (4th Cir. 2001) (citations omitted). “To
establish that a health care provider's actions
constitute deliberate indifference to a serious medical need,
the treatment must be so grossly incompetent, inadequate, or
excessive as to shock the conscience or to be intolerable to
fundamental fairness.” Miltier v. Beorn, 896
F.2d 848, 851 (4th Cir. 1990).
that might be sufficient to support negligence and medical
malpractice claims do not, without more, rise to the level of
a cognizable § 1983 claim. Estelle, 429 U.S. at
106; Grayson v. Peed, 195 F.3d 692, 695 (4th Cir.
1999) (“Deliberate indifference is a very high
standard-a showing of mere negligence will not meet
it.”). To be found liable under the Eighth Amendment, a
prison official must know of and consciously or intentionally
disregard “an excessive risk to inmate health or
safety.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837
(1994); Johnson v. Quinones, 145 F.3d 164, 167 (4th
Cir. 1998). “[E]ven if a prison doctor is mistaken or
negligent in his diagnosis or treatment, no constitutional
issue is raised absent evidence of abuse, intentional
mistreatment, or denial of medical attention.”
Stokes v. Hurdle, 393 F.Supp. 757, 762 (D. Md.
1975), aff'd, 535 F.2d 1250 (4th Cir. 1976). The
constitutional right is to medical care. No. right exists to
the type or scope of care desired by the individual prisoner.
Id. at 763. Therefore, a disagreement “between
an inmate and a physician over the inmate's proper
medical care [does] not state a § 1983 claim unless
exceptional circumstances are alleged.” Wright v.
Collins, 766 F.2d 841, 849 (4th Cir. 1985) (dismissing
the plaintiff's § 1983 claim against a defendant
physician for allegedly discharging the plaintiff too early
from a medical clinic, as such claim did not rise to the
level of deliberate indifference but would, “at most,
constitute a claim of medical malpractice”).
Defendant Madison County Detention Center, a correctional
institution is not a “person” subject to suit
under Section 1983. See Brooks v. Pembroke Cnty.
Jail, 722 F.Supp. 1294, 1301 (E.D. N.C. 1989). As such,
Defendant Madison County Detention Center will be dismissed
from this action.
Court further finds that, assuming that Plaintiff's
allegations are true, and drawing all reasonable inferences
in his favor, Plaintiffs claims against Defendants Denton and
Neil for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs is
not clearly frivolous. Thus, this action survives initial
reasons stated herein, the Court finds that Plaintiff has
alleged a claim for deliberate indifference to serious
medical needs sufficient to survive this ...